Every year over 110,000 people are injured and more than 5,000 are killed in motor vehicle accidents involving commercial trucks. If that’s not scary enough, one study conducted by the Harvard School of Medicine – Sleep Medicine Division reported that nearly half of all semi-truck drivers admitted to having “drifted off” while driving a long-haul route.
Sleep deprivation is a common cause of big rig accidents. Long-haul truck drivers are on the road driving from coast to coast. They sit all day, alone in a cab, driving in traffic. Their hours are irregular and truck drivers work nights, weekends, and holidays.
Although there are federal and state laws and regulations attempting to ensure that truckers get enough sleep, trucking companies often encourage their employees to “just keep driving.” When they do get to sleep, it’s often in the cramped quarters of a cab in the vehicle.
Driving while sleep deprived is an extremely serious matter and dangerous to do. Experts note that it is equivalent to driving while intoxicated or under the influence of drugs. Driving for long periods of time dulls the senses and leads to general lethargy and fatigue.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCA) regulates the hours that a long-haul truck driver can work. Drivers are not allowed to work more than 14 straight hours. That is made up of 11 hours spent driving, and the rest doing other work, like inspecting, loading or unloading cargo. But a 14-hour day is still a long day. The FMCA also mandates that drivers cannot drive more than 60 hours within 7 days or 70 hours within 8 days. After that, they are required to take 34 hours off before starting another 7 or 8-day run.
Even assuming that the FMCA requirements would give truck drivers enough of a break to be well-rested before starting another haul, the rest requirements are not always met.
The requirements of the job and of their employers. Many truckers force themselves to keep going even when they are tired because their companies pressure them to meet deadlines and may even encourage misrepresenting their schedules to allow for more time behind the wheel.
Big rigs are dangerous when not driven properly. The epidemic of sleep-deprived long-haul truck drivers is a real and frightening one.
If you have been injured in a trucking accident or have lost a loved one in a truck accident, contact us. At the Day Law Group, our passion is helping people who have been wrongfully injured. We offer FREE consultations, and we don’t get paid unless you win your case. We have offices in Baton Rouge, and we serve all of Southern Louisiana. Call 225-200-0000 ToDay to schedule your free consultation or contact us here.
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